Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak lost his legal battle against YouTube over videos that used his image to promote bitcoin scams

Steve Wozniak Apple cofounder
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.

Apple cofounder Steve Wozniak was told in a court ruling that YouTube isn’t responsible for his images being used to promote scam bitcoin giveaways, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday.

YouTube and parent company Google are protected under a federal law that safeguards internet companies from being treated as liable for content put up by users. Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act states that “no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.”

Images and a video of Wozniak were used by YouTube scammers to trick viewers into believing he was hosting a live giveaway, in which anyone who sent him bitcoin would receive double the amount in return, according to the lawsuit. Wozniak, who stepped down from Apple in 1985, filed the complaint against the video-streaming service in California superior court last year, alongside several other plaintiffs.

The platform hosted such videos for months, which led to people being defrauded out of millions of dollars, the lawsuit claimed.

Scammers have pocketed record-breaking sums of money in 2021 so far, according to the BBC. Fake crypto giveaways often target the social-media accounts of high-profile figures and will, for example, hack into their account and post on their behalf, or impersonate the official account with a spoof account. In one instance, dogecoin scammers netted more than $5 million last month by exploiting Elon Musk’s “Saturday Night Live” appearance.

Wozniak criticized YouTube for relying on Section 230, saying it had not only failed to remove the videos, but contributed to the scam by displaying targeted ads that drove traffic to them.

But these arguments aren’t enough to overcome the US law that provides immunity to platforms for their users’ content, Judge Sunil Kulkarni said in his Santa Clara County Superior Court ruling. The plaintiffs have been given 30 days to revise the complaint.

The Apple cofounder isn’t the only tech figure to have been misrepresented in video-based scams. Screenshots of similar videos featuring Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Dell chairman and CEO Michael Dell were put forward in the lawsuit.

Read More: Getting paid in crypto instead of cash may sound crazy, but here’s why you may want to – and the potential complications

Read the original article on Business Insider

Elon Musk impersonators have stolen more than $2 million through crypto scams, FTC says

Elon Musk
  • Scammers impersonating Elon Musk have stolen more than $2 million in the past six months alone, according to the FTC.
  • The number of scams has risen as many attempt to cash in on the cryptocurrency buzz this year.
  • The agency said people in the age group 20 to 49 were five times more likely to report losing money to fraud.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Crypto scammers impersonating Elon Musk have stolen more than $2 million in the past six months alone, according to the Federal Trade Commission. The activity comes amid exploding interest in crypto investing.

The FTC said the fraudulent schemes have many forms, and so-called giveaway scams are among the most common. They’re false setups supposedly sponsored by celebrities who promise to multiply or match the amount of cryptocurrency sent. Under such a scam, people send cryptocurrency directly into the scammers’ wallets.

It may not come as a surprise that the Tesla chief is among the figures being impersonated the most given his vocal opinions as a cryptocurrency enthusiast, which also seem to have market-moving effects.

Musk, one of the prominent figures in the cryptocurrency space, has, several times in the past, moved the price of dogecoin, GameStop, and Etsy, among others.

Most recently, bitcoin has been the asset caught in the middle of the billionaire’s tweeting spree. Over the weekend, Musk – the self-proclaimed Dogefather – sent the price of the cryptocurrency plunging after he seemed to have suggested that his electric vehicle company had sold its holdings, and then clarifying that Tesla, in fact, did not.

Read more: ‘Wolf of All Streets’ crypto trader Scott Melker breaks down his strategy for making money using ‘HODLing’ and 100X trade opportunities – and shares 5 under-the-radar tokens he thinks could explode

Since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on these scams at a median loss of $1,900 – 12 times the number of reports and nearly 1,000% more in reported losses compared to the same period last year.

Another type of ploy, which topped the list as the most lucrative way to obtain cryptocurrencies, is the “investing” scam, FTC said. This typically involves impersonating a government authority or a well-known business.

“Sites use fake testimonials and cryptocurrency jargon to appear credible, but promises of enormous, guaranteed returns are simply lies,” the agency said. “But people report that, when they try to withdraw supposed profits, they are told to send even more crypto – and end up getting nothing back.”

Many told the FTC that they fed cash into bitcoin ATMs to pay fraudsters claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. Coinbase Global, a cryptocurrency exchange, is another commonly referred to business by scammers.

As for the demographic profile of those being people targetted, the agency said people in the age group 20 to 49 were five times more likely to report losing money to scams compared to older age groups.

People 50 and older were far less likely to report losing money, but on an individual basis, reported losses at an average of $3,250.

“Cryptocurrency enthusiasts congregate online to chat about their shared passion,” the agency said. “And with bitcoin’s value soaring in recent months, new investors may be eager to get in on the action.”

Cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in 2021, hitting a $2 trillion market valuation in April, just three months after it breached the $1 trillion mark. The rally is led by bitcoin, which has grown 51% year-to-date, ether at 354%, and dogecoin at around 10,300%.

Read the original article on Business Insider